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Increased Military Suicides Aren’t Necessarily About War

President Trump’s recent decisions to withdraw from Syria and negotiate a withdrawal from Afghanistan have reignited a long running debate over our military’s presence across the globe.

With thousands of American lives lost, many more wounded or maimed, and public coffers drained of $5.6 trillion [1], the weary public and their president have openly asked: is it worth the cost? Recently, too, CNN reported [2] on a lesser known cost of war borne directly by the troops: suicide. 2018 marked a 10-year high for the Navy and Marine Corps, with 68 Navy and 57 Marine deaths confirmed as suicides.

The latest annual survey [3] of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) members found that, when asked in 2018, 43 percent reported having had suicidal thoughts since joining the military, compared to 31 percent in 2014. Overall, 77 percent said they do not think the military is doing enough to address the problem. Suicide rates [4] for veterans increased 25.9 percent from 2005 to 2015, dipped slightly between 2015 and 2016, and now are rising again. Tragically, more than 6,000 veterans have killed themselves every year since 2008.

This trend has proven baffling to Marine officials despite the availability of “extensive mental health programs.” And there’s something even more confusing: “many of the cases are young Marines who have not deployed overseas and have not been in combat—a situation that has been seen in other branches of the military as well.”

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In September 2018, the VA released a report also acknowledging these patterns and declaring that the agency “must help reduce veterans’ risk for suicide before they reach a crisis.” This policy, it said, would be accomplished through an “expansion of treatment and prevention services and a continued focus on innovative crisis intervention services.”

But what is causing these trends and will these policies actually work?

Historically suicide has been regarded as taboo in America, a deeply shameful and disgraceful act. The same could be said of suicide in the military. More recently, as our wars have dragged on, both America’s view of its warriors and the military’s view of itself have changed, with an emphasis on eliminating the stigma attached to suicide in the hope that troubled individuals will come forward before it is too late. Yet most public discussions of this issue take for granted that in some way, combat stress is to blame for suicidal ideation.

Now that the data is telling us otherwise, how do we drill down on the root causes?

In his masterpiece of literary investigation The Gulag Archipelago [5], Russian dissident Aleksander Solzhenitsyn left no facet of zek (prisoner) psychology untouched. With respect to suicide in the camps, Solzhenitsyn claimed that the prisoners had the will to “not perish from the disaster! It had to be survived.” This will was the “root cause of the astounding rarity of camp suicides.” The inmates were “condemned to a misshapen existence, to waste away from starvation, to exhaustion from labor—they did not put an end to themselves!” Solzhenitsyn concluded, “This meant some kind of invincible feeling was alive inside them. Some powerful idea. This was their feeling of universal innocence.”

These observations lend themselves to viewing suicide as a disease of the spirit, not of the mind or body. And diseases of the spirit are impossible to quantify; they can only be qualified. The feelings of pain, despair, isolation, heartbreak, and depression can’t be reduced to Excel charts or attendance rosters for prevention classes. But in today’s military, the love of easy and empirical solutions presents the same trap that doomed the American effort in Vietnam: not everything that counts can be counted. As Marine Captain Grazier said in a 2103 essay on suicide for The Marine Corps Gazette, “Any action must be judged by its results. If the results are bad, the action is wrong.” Likewise can we judge a policy by its effectiveness. If a policy aimed at reducing suicide has no impact or the trends worsen, objectively one can say the policy is ineffective or not designed correctly.

What matters to the military? The decision to join acknowledges and accepts that suffering will be involved: privation, danger, fatigue, and physical and mental exertion. Voluntary military service is about putting something on the altar of national sacrifice: time, relationships, physical and mental health, and, if required, limbs and lives, all offered for sanctification. Semper Fi! So why then are military members’ spirits broken? Not because of what they have experienced, but because of what they haven’t experienced. Something deeper is missing: the feeling of being connected to a larger organism. To American society, the bee is more important than the hive, but to the voluntary service member, the hive is more important than the bee.

The timespan and elusive strategic objectives of America’s wars—and to a lesser degree, its social engineering—have fractured the tribal cohesion of the military, commonly called espirit de corps. The civil-military divide has reduced the relationship between the public and their protectors to blind patronage. The American people, who have not been taxed, drafted, or even consulted through Congress concerning the conduct of war, want their heroes to be comfortable—comfortable in a physical, material way. Former secretary of defense Chuck Hagel perfectly summarized this policy during the government shutdown of October 2013 when he ordered back to work furloughed Department of Defense [6] civilians whose “responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities, and readiness of service members.” This was at a time when less than half of Marine aircraft could fly. Military leadership basically told the troops that while they can’t provide working equipment, be happy because counselors are always on hand to take your calls.

By keeping the military comfortable, in an ironic way, our society removes their sacrifice from the altar. While there is no doubt that multiple combat deployments can and have had negative effects on veterans’ health, the flip side is solidarity with fellow soldiers. The depth of this forged relationship is difficult to fathom. In The German Soldier in World War II [7], studies of German units found that even though soldiers were granted standard leave periods to return to the Fatherland for R&R, they overwhelmingly preferred to stay with their units and endure death and destruction. If any one of those soldiers could have been asked why, his answer would not have been quantifiable. While no one wants war to better bond with their comrades, there must be efforts to clear the decks so that the balkanization of American society does not infiltrate the Armed Forces. Identity politics seeping into the military culture will only hurt the ethos of unity and sacrifice.

Of course, military suicide can be put into better perspective when placed in a broader context. Rates of suicide in the military are still lower than in American society. According to the CDC [8], between 1996 and 2016, every state except Nevada saw an increase in suicide rates. In 2017, the toll stood at 47,000.

An interesting explanation for these trends was examined in The Righteous Mind [9] by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. Haidt examines the evolutionary origins of our moral inclinations. Allegiance to a tribe and following rules is in our DNA and cannot be turned off; its software comes loaded from birth. Haidt draws attention to the fact that after remaining stable for decades, suicide rates began to climb following the liberating cultural revolution of the 1960s. He concludes that “when societies lose their grip on individuals, allowing them to do as they please, the result is often a decrease in happiness and an increase in suicide.”

Military service members, while perhaps not fully understanding their own evolutionary idealism, enlist to escape a society where it’s every man for himself. Human beings instinctively need to be part of a tribe. There is something mysteriously satisfying about offering yourself for the greater good of others. An experience in the military followed by a life deficient in community, solidarity, and shared suffering is, well, depressing.

Suicide is a complex issue and no analysis can completely cover the wide range of reasons for despair. The epidemic is a wider cultural problem; the military trends in the same direction as the society from which it is drawn. The suicide rate in America, for example, is escalating among poor, white men [10], particularly those between the ages of 45 and 64. These are counted among the growing “deaths of despair,” which also includes drug overdoses and liver disease.

And while “extensive mental health programs” can effectively talk someone off the ledge, they can only treat symptoms, not the underlying disease. The correct approach is to address the readiness crisis and spending priorities in the military. Without deployments, being ready for combat is the next best thing. Congress and military leadership have gone all in on the bankrupt idea that comfort and happiness equals morale and morale correlates to readiness. In fact, they got it backward. Providing the resources and time to effectively accomplish the mission [11] is what lifts the spirits of the troops.

While we know that preventing suicide in our military community is not an exact science, focusing on the real needs of the soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine is the best place to start.

Jeff Groom is a former Marine officer. He is the author of American Cobra Pilot: A Marine Remembers a Dog and Pony Show [12] (2018). Follow him on Twitter @BigsbyGroom [13].

16 Comments (Open | Close)

16 Comments To "Increased Military Suicides Aren’t Necessarily About War"

#1 Comment By Joe Steel On February 5, 2019 @ 9:41 am

Combat leaves scars, and not all of them are induced by what has been done to you or your comrades. Being forced or persuaded to behave cruelly and lethally toward people of another country also leaves scars, according to Marines I have talked to. The “PsyOps” we use to break the spirit of enemy populations probably help to break the spirit of some of our own troops.

#2 Comment By Richard On February 5, 2019 @ 10:25 am

May I suggest looking into correlations between the Jody Pole and subsequent suicides? Once illusions of love ever after and fighting to protect those you love turn out to be just that, it’s hard to come back to a purpose-driven life. That might give some insight.

#3 Comment By TomG On February 5, 2019 @ 11:04 am

The author states, “Rates of suicide in the military are still lower than in American society.” I have to assume that he meant the overall number as he states the vet suicide count is 6,000 per year and the total US number in 2017 was 47,000. Those numbers certainly highlight that the per capita rate among vets is far higher than the general population.

Quoting social psychologist Haidt he seems to affirm the notion that, “when societies lose their grip on individuals, allowing them to do as they please, the result is often a decrease in happiness and an increase in suicide.” It seems to me this disproves his point as certainly military ranks are the exception to the rule for the ‘doing as you please society.’ I believe Haidt and Mr. Groom are caught in trying to find causation in what may be only some measure of correlation.

We are an ever-growing culture of violence that expends young lives in futile foreign aggression paying the volunteers of our evil folly with the cheapest of jingoism’s slogans of support for the troops. We see from these thousands dead in the prime of their lives their indictment of our culture of violence and death. That they may not have died in vain, we owe them an end to diabolical policies whose sole accomplishment is profit in industries of death and destruction.

#4 Comment By JJ On February 5, 2019 @ 11:19 am

That means ultimately that our heterogeneous society is not only outright unhealthy, it’s a literal disease. If you want to cure the disease then it ultimately must be purged. So is any amount of political “reform” or benedict option really going to cure this disease? If not, then what?

#5 Comment By kingdomofgodflag.info On February 5, 2019 @ 11:44 am

“There is something mysteriously satisfying about offering yourself for the greater good of others.”

If you’re killing people in the process, there’s a good chance you’re doing it for personal glory and the joy of domination. If you’re not, you may be altruistic.

#6 Comment By prodigalson On February 5, 2019 @ 12:27 pm

PTSD, 18 years of continuous warefare that kills women and children on a regular basis, over-arching everything; the mask of good intentions has fallen away and only the newest of recruits think we’re a force for good in the world. We have foreign policy moves like venezuela where John Bolton said on Fox News that we want Venezuela’s oil. We’re pretty obviously evil at this point. It corrodes the soul.

I know a former AF Captain who did drone ops with PTSD from seeing so many people killed. I knew an Army Captain who fresh back from a deployment in the 2006 time frame would tell me about how he would just start screaming at his family for no reason. After 18 years we now have multi-generational scars.

An active duty Air Force Captain recently said to me, and i quote, “I joined the military to be Luke Skywalker, instead I’m just a stormtrooper.”

#7 Comment By Ken T On February 5, 2019 @ 1:08 pm

And there’s something even more confusing: “many of the cases are young Marines who have not deployed overseas and have not been in combat—a situation that has been seen in other branches of the military as well.”

This is genuinely confusing. I can easily understand the situation of multiple combat deployments, but among those who have never been deployed? It would seem to me (and I readily acknowledge that these are nothing more than guesses) that there are two possible explanations (or maybe a combination of both). Either entry standards have been so lowered that people are being recruited who are not psychologically fit in the first place, or expectations have been built up so high that encountering the reality of military life leads to unbearable disappointment.

#8 Comment By Rick Steven D. On February 5, 2019 @ 1:32 pm

“Diseases of the spirit are impossible to quantify; they can only be qualified. The feelings of pain, despair, isolation, heartbreak and depression can’t be reduced to Excel charts or attendance rosters for prevention classes”.

This is fascinating. Very, very well said.

I work in behavioral health. Pain, isolation, despair, heartbreak and depression, are, if you want to call it that, part of the job I do every day that I go into work.

A few years ago, I received a call in the nurse’s station. It was the wife of a patient I had cared for some months before. And it was just coincidental that I happened to be the one to pick up the phone, since she had called to speak to me directly.

She told me that her husband had killed himself. He was a retired police officer, and shot himself with his service revolver.

She sounded humble, even pleasant on the phone. No tears or anything like that. Sad, of course. And quiet. Very quiet. I remember that.

I’m not sure, but I think the reason she had called me probably had to do with her own process of closure. Her own stages of grief. She wanted me to know, she told me calmly, that her husband had felt I made a difference when I cared for him. I had helped him, she said.

At first, I struggled a bit during the call. I was almost afraid I wouldn’t remember her husband at all. After all, I care for hundreds of patients in a year. And I had only been this man’s nurse for a few hours one night.

Thank God I remembered her husband halfway through the call. And, of course, in the time since, her husband, and especially her phone call, have become something that I will never forget as long as I live…

My hospital, however, had a different set of priorities. An investigation was launched, since the man had died less than a month after discharge (If someone kills themselves more than a month after discharge? We’re okay). And a social worker was actually fired over this, since it was found that there had been barely any aftercare or adequate follow-up.

All well and good. To a point. The social worker didn’t do a good enough job, I guess.

But that’s what the bean-counters in an administration do. Or any organisation. Number-obsessed. Did our patient satisfaction numbers go up or down? What are the numbers for hospital falls from March to April? Did our numbers go up? Did our numbers go down?

I understand this, of course. Every organisation needs to be able to quantify, rather than qualify, to use your own word choice here.

People, however, aren’t numbers. And never will be.

What I remember of this poor man was that he was tortured. He hadn’t slept, he claimed, in months. And his eyes looked haunted. I remember that.

Otherwise, a very nice man, as I recall, with a nice-enough life: a supportive, pretty wife, a big house in a nice town, no financial troubles. But he had been depressed, with global insomnia, for quite a while, with no relief.

I think he was difficult for the attending psychiatrist to treat. I do remember that. He talked obsessively about having something called Zoloft-storm. He had read about it online, and believed he had it. He said it was withdrawal from Zoloft, which caused his insomnia. Doctors didn’t believe him, he told me, with enough insistence that there almost seemed to be a delusional component to this belief.

And I don’t remember what I might have said that made an impression on this poor man. It’s possible, though I’m far from certain about this, that since my own history includes some time spent as a police officer, as well as an unsuccessful suicide attempt during that time, that I knew what to say to him.

I didn’t tell him this, of course. But it’s very easy, in my line of work, to condescend to patients. And they always know it, I think, on some level. But it’s possible, since this man and I had a sort of shared experience, that I may have treated him with an extra amount of sensitivity. Like knowing the right thing to say to him. And the right thing NOT to say to him, which may be even more important. Of course, I will never know for sure.

The one thing that makes me angry is this: when I got that unforgettable call from this poor, grieving woman, I just assumed that her husband had killed himself very recently. But after I hung up the phone, I looked up the obituary online, since I wanted to send flowers, or at least a card. That was when I found out it had been months before, and just a few days after he had been discharged. And if my assistant nurse manager hadn’t been right next to me after I got off that phone, it’s possible that social worker would still have a job (And it wasn’t even like I got off the phone with any sort of agenda. I was a little overwhelmed, emotionally, and Barbara happened to be standing there).

And I’m not saying that the hospital wasn’t right to fire that social worker. But there is a checking-off-the-boxes quality to their intervention that leaves me very cold. It is inhuman to try and quality-manage something like this, I believe. To reduce a tragedy to a simple legal calculation-Fire that social worker. So if we get sued, we can always say we took care of the problem.

Anyway, I will end on this: I don’t know if that short time I spent with this poor, doomed man counts as an example of the distinction you are making here, between quantifying and qualifying. But I sure as hell would like to believe it does. Thanks…

#9 Comment By bgone On February 5, 2019 @ 1:38 pm

The real needs of military personnel, whether they want to admit it or not, is an end to the abdication of responsibility by the citizens – voting or not – and the dismissal of oath-breaking incumbents from public office. The People need to stop buying bumper stickers of indulgence and do their job, getting rid off the elitist war profiteering class in Congress, corporations and oligarchy that has corrupted the institutions of the Republic to the point of terminal dysfunction.

This starts by citizens – veterans, active duty, and civilians – admitting that Eisenhower’s cowardly farewell has placed the responsibility for ending the presidential-congressional-military-industrial complex and the network of profiteers and careerists outside and inside the military forces that we have grown over almost 80 years. We need brutal honesty about the “private-public-partnerships for profit” that the Biparty pushes in every context and for every purpose, most dramatically and dangerously with respect to “National Securities interest”, to convert tax revenue and borrowed funds into private profits, while producing, among many other “bridges to nowhere”, a nuclear arsenal that would kill us all even if we could hit the rest of the world without a single non-US warhead exploding, let alone hitting the US.

“Readiness” is just one flavor of the many scams that make the self-penetrating sinkhole we call “Defense”. Profit, on the other hand, explains opoids, “mental health care programs” that do not work, and 700 billion dollars of expenditure quite nicely.

Maybe the military would feel more “connected” if it actually operated exclusively on US territory, and in US territorial waters, unless there is a declared war, preferably one that also happens to be legal under the UN Charter? Maybe we need a strict prohibition against deploying the National Guard outside the US borders unless explicitly and separately authorized by Congress following an actual declaration of war? Maybe the National Guard should be organized for emergency and disaster response first, and territorial defense only, last? Maybe we need to spend more on those in government service, inside uniform and out, and less on a profitable cargo cult of expensive gear for “prompt global dominance” in service of unconstitutional, criminal impunity?

Every soldier – especially the brass, especially the ranks of the political careerists and their “stars” – swears an oath on the Constitution. That oath is broken with almost every “deployment” – how should we get “ready” for that?

The US is alone among developed, industrialized nations in experiencing an “epidemic” of accidental and suicidal death to the point of lowering average life expectancy several years in the row. The previous example of such a demographic change? Russia, in the years of Yeltsin implementing Clintonian “public-private partnerships” and breeding an oligarchy born from organized crime.

Maybe those that “volunteer” for the military are increasingly “drawn” from the quarters of desperation and homelessness? Maybe individuals like the Clintons, Trump-Kushner, or the Sackler family, and the predatory wealth they profit from and stand for, have a lot more to teach us about the root cause of suicides than all that useful drivel about “purpose” and “readiness” and “sacrifice” that aids and abets the profit extraction mills and keeps the blood money flowing?

Maybe the author, having belatedly and reluctantly admitted that non-military personnel is also “making the ultimate self-sacrifice” in ever increasing numbers, would like to propose how we provide purpose and readiness to those that kill themselves before joining the military? More debt, higher taxes, more wasteful spending, so that we all share at least some material sacrifice of comfort and dignity on behalf of war profiteers?

The reference to the bonding experience known as the German Wehrmacht says it all. Suffering is the anvil on which pliant citizens are forged into tools – of war, if you’d like, or maybe just tools?

#10 Comment By Steve Northrop On February 5, 2019 @ 2:54 pm

“many of the cases are young Marines who have not deployed overseas and have not been in combat—a situation that has been seen in other branches of the military as well.”

Straight from the article. My family has been touched more times than I care to remember by suicide. It is always baffling and inflicts much pain on those left behind to wonder what could they have done differently. The answer far too many times is nothing. Combat isn’t a necessity to bring upon the ideation of suicide, to wonder at times if the world wouldn’t be better off without us is as human as breathing. Anyone that claims they’ve never even entertained the thought is lying. Many times it seems the only way to escape a seemingly inescapable state of being. Some of the most well adjusted people I know have done some truly horrific things while in uniform and many I know that have taken their lives had on appearance, everything to live for. One thing I don’t see mentioned often, despite “… the availability of “extensive mental health programs.” is those going through with suicide are often medicated and as a result of these so called panaceas, the person goes through with an act that had they not been medicated, would likely have resulted in just a temporary state of depression. Why is it that so many people on “anti depressants” actually commit suicide and in the fine print of all these drugs dispensed with the claim of lessening depression actually come with warnings about suicidal thoughts or tendencies.

Human brains do not finished developing until the mid to late twenties and so often we think taking something to make us feel “better” actually creates the problem is was prescribed to address. Mucking around with brain chemistry in a system we barely understand is a recipe for disaster. Hubris has consequences and not teaching that only hastens a disease, or dis-ease of the spirit.

#11 Comment By Jeeves On February 5, 2019 @ 3:07 pm

Rates of suicide in the military are still lower than in American society. According to the CDC, between 1996 and 2016, every state except Nevada saw an increase in suicide rates. In 2017, the toll stood at 47,000.

Then, as the article seems to be saying, the military is addressing a problem it doesn’t own. If deracinated people join the all-voluntary military in order to escape anomie, it seems they would be as likely to commit suicide irrespective of their service.

#12 Comment By Joe On February 5, 2019 @ 3:09 pm

The darkest time of my life was as a Marine officer in Hawaii, not deploying, making over 6 figure salary. As the country was crumbling in the wreckage of the Obama years and dumpster fire of the rise of Trumpism, I simply couldn’t handle the cognitive dissonance of a country that told me that my mission was so important yet that somehow couldn’t give me the things I needed to get my trucks fixed. Add that to the cognitive dissonance required for me to live with the realities of always being “ready” yet spending 90% of my professional time on useless paper pushing and it is no wonder why I was part of the over 50% attrition rate for company grade officers in my unit at that time.

#13 Comment By George Hoffman On February 5, 2019 @ 3:42 pm

I served as a medical corpsman in Vietnam (31 May 1967 – 31 May 1968) at the 12th USAF Hospital at the Cam Ranh Bay AFB. We got our share of wounded Marines from Eye Corps. I still remember these wounded Marines from such battles as Con Thieu, Hue, Phu Bai, Dong Ha, etc. You are correct Marines have a special “espirit de corps.” They were quite different from the wounded Army draftees on the ward. When they call each other, “bro,” they really meant it. Unfortunately, since Richard Nixon got rid of the draft and replaced it with a lottery that evolved into our volunteer armed forces, enlisting in the military has become more of a calculated career choice for most young adults in our consumer society. Gone is the cherished ideal of the “citizen/soldier” from the historical legacy of the Second World War. The draft was just another casualty of the Vietnam War. Maybe, these stateside Marines are suffering from what is called survivor’s guilt since they never did a tour of duty in a war zone. After my tour of duty in Vietnam, I still had two years left on my enlistment in the Air Force. And I was stationed at Edwards AFB in the Mojave Desert. The local “radicals” in the barracks, who ironically spent their entire four-year enlistments at Edwards AFB, tried to convince me to wear a black armband during the Moritorium to End the War in Vietnam on October 15, 1969. Even though I told them I agreed with their political aims since I knew what a military blunder the war was, I said I still couldn’t wear that black armband. When they asked me why, I replied, “It would be like pissing on the graves of the dead grunts.” From that moment on, they stopped speaking to me in the barracks. And I was the only Vietnam veteran in the barracks until a couple of months later a black guy also was stationed at Edwards to complete like I was his remaining time on his enlistment. We were the only Vietnam veterans in the barracks. I would agree with you that these young stateside Marines, who committed suicide, are lIving through this bizarre era of the Balkinization of our society. We are a very divided nation as Andrew Basevich astutely pointed out in “Breach of Trust,” as the chasm grows between those who serve and sacrifice and those who stay behind. We have become a nation of tribes. Also when there was a draft, most baby boomer civilians, even those who evaded the draft, had some “skin in the game,” that is, they knew a high school friend or a relative or a loved one who came back in a box. At least, that was my situation in the working class I came of age in the late fifties and early sixties. Quite frankly, to be honest, all I learned in Vietnam was I’m a hardcore civilian, hate camping out amid the splendids of Mother Nature and really love indoor plumbing. I’m joking of course. Despite how brutal and barbaric all wars are, and especially the most contentious and divisive and unpopular war inoir nariom’s History that I served in, I believe, and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, war is a profound spiritual experience.

#14 Comment By John On February 5, 2019 @ 5:14 pm

Lack of emphasis on love of country, weak religious affiliation, lack of well formed and understood commitment to the military and political objectives the military is called to be maimed or to die for will result in depression. The meaninglessness of it all make the sacrifice of life or limb makes for depression, hence suicide.

#15 Comment By JohnT On February 6, 2019 @ 5:46 pm

Perhaps reality is the source of the problem. The speed, depth and reach of communication in today’s world no longer makes it possible to sell to the public a “hero”, John Wayne, who was a draft dodger and sold out his friends to fear-mongers. Anyone with access to the internet can now easily identify who profits financially from war and who is butchered. On his return home from service in the Army Air Corps during WWII one of my uncles stated unequivocally “The next time they do that they will have to burn the swamp and sift the ashes to find me.” That was a war this nation won.
I truly doubt we need eloquent discourses on the subject when simple facts will do. No rational adult finds pride in going to another person’s home and killing their entire family while another person sits on a golf cart profiting from the enterprise.

#16 Comment By Mont D. Law On February 6, 2019 @ 6:23 pm

The assumption here is the veteran’s suicide rate is higher now than it was in the past.

Ignoring the issue of under-reporting, when researchers look back, veteran’s suicides have always been high during and after wars.

I don’t disagree that veteran’s feel disconnected and cut off from the larger society, but that is nothing new. The experience of serving does that, combat or no.

I also suspect closed trauma head injuries, think repeated concussions, is likely have an effect. Experts are finding CTE in a shocking number of brains from former members of the military.

I am always confused that the only problem, ever and always, is the cultural revolution.